***Disclaimer: This summary isn't the least bit funny. Seriously.***
Wha-?!? I don't get it.
Wow. What a major disappointment. Not since Seinfeld has a finale had so much potential but ended up sucking so badly. I can't get over the amount of loose ends and unanswered questions.
If you're anything like me - which you're probably not, since I tend to be a little on the strange side - you didn't have any delusions of grandeur about winning the prize money. Instead you watched the show as a casual viewer, wrapped up in the story, excited to see how it would all turn out. I know all three of you are probably as disappointed as I was. But, I'm going to hook you up. I did a little research and spent hours getting the whole story off all the silly internet sites ABC set up to help wrap up this story for you. Sad thing is, it's actually a great story, but they just didn't do it any justice.
I'll try to keep this short. I know you Push viewers don't really have very big attention spans, after all...
The show opens with Deputy Dawn looking like she's struggling with whether or not to shoot Jim Prufrock. Jim, of course, is not really dead. And, not one of the four of us watching is buying it for a minute. Of course, just before she is to shoot Jim, Sloman shoots the other undercover agent in the head and Dawn blows her cover. She and Sloman shoot each other. Sloman is fine though, as is Jim. They both have on kevlar vests. Does anyone else think it's strange that the only person not wearing a vest is the one in a police officer's uniform?
What they should have cleared up, but didn't: Seems our deputy here wasn't too bright. She never learned about Watermark in the two years that she was undercover in Push. She was only ever after Sloman. And, of course, just our luck: she survived the gunshot wound. God help us, if there's ever a sequel to this show, she could be a returning character.
I can't help thinking how convenient it is that all of a sudden, there is all this help in Push. What a copout. And, the whole thing smacks of some cheesy cop movie where everything works out allright at the end. And, anyway, isn't the IRS just a bunch of accountants and stuff. Guys with thick galsses and pocket protectors? What the hell are they doing with all those helicopters. The show has barely started and I'm already disappointed. Worse yet, it's not even the first time I've groaned at this episode. What a looooooooooong hour this is going to be.
So, Jim and Dawn are safe and are whisked away back to Push proper. They are debriefed by the Super-Duper IRS Agent, and propose their theory to the investigator. It goes down like this: The mob is using Push, Nevada to launder money. They set up Watermark and buy all Sloman's properties (the casino, the businesses in town, the bank) they get the dirty mob money into Push, they pay it out as casino winnings to the residents of Push, who in turn spend the money at Push businesses (conveniently owned by Watermark) and then the money is "clean" and cycled back into the Watermark bank accounts. A little far fetched, but, okay, *I* can't think of anything better, so I'll buy into it.
What they should have cleared up, but didn't: Actually, the whole Push thing began as a marketing experiment. Some guy, T.S. Griffin, decided that he wanted to watch a community as if the members were mice in a lab experiment. Short story? It was a market reserach program to help boost the effectiveness of advertising efforts. If they could see how people really spent money and were able to track purchases and cash and even know the consumer's real motivations, they could make lots of bucks in the advertising industry. Watermark was set up to run the experiment, but was subsequently taken over by the undesirables. T.S. Griffin and his partner stayed on even after Watermark got ugly, but were very unhappy with the way things were turning out. The whole operation became a way to launder money. Sloman was just the in-town liason for the Watermark guys. Too bad they never clued us in to that, huh? Just a minor piece of the story.
Mary goes to see Job and leaves the bible that she stole from Jim with him. This bible has been a huge question mark for the entire season and I was getting excited to learn of its signifigance. But, in true-to-this-series fashion, the bible was never explained. How lame.
What they should have cleared up, but didn't: The bible was one of two. They were kill-codes that exposed all the evil, dirty deeds being done by the Watermark crew. They were created by Griffin and his partner, each maintaining control over their own copy. Once Jamison Jones took over at Watermark, unruly citizens started being killed and instead of doing just market research, the company started altering the behaviors and controlling the habits of Push residents. The Watermark founders, Griffin and his partner, were no longer in control. They created the coded bibles as a bit of insurance, so they could someday break out of the illicit Watermark.
So Jim is pondering who sent him the fax. He knows his 'work is done' (how cheesy and cliche) in Push, but still, this one question nags at him. He heads back to Martha's boarding house to check out of his room. Delilah is there and she wants to get it on. This is getting more and more farfetched by the minute. What's a hot girl like her really want with this weasly, goody-two-shoes IRS agent who isn't hot, isn't rich, doesn't drive a nice car, and hasn't expressed even the slightest inclination that he's interested. Whatever. To each their own, I suppose. Jim, ever the consummate professional, leaves the room after demanding she get dressed. As soon as he steps out, he sees BRB storming down the hall. Oddly enough, BRB doesn't seem the least bit upset with Jim. But, wait, that hardly makes any sense...
What they should have cleared up, but didn't: Well, this was an interesting little bit of trivia. Seems the only thing BRB asked for when he got mixed up with Watermark was that he wanted Delilah for his wife. Apparently, they had ways of making people fall in love by altering their perception of what was "attractive and desirable". This is what they did to Delilah and how they got her to fall for BRB. But, apparently, she has a bit of a wild streak that likes to shine through and reveal her true attractions. I guess she has a thing for skinny, good-boy, IRS agents that are on their way outta town.
As Jim is checking out of the boarding house, he considers the "No Entry! Off Limits!" sign and I'm sure he's going to disregard the sign and see what's back there, if only to clear up that mystery for all four of us watching. But, no, he is surprised by Martha who says she will send him a bill when she "figures it out".
What they should have cleared up, but didn't: Evidently, this 'Off Limits' area was the control room that the Watermark crew used to spy on all the goings-on of Push residents. Martha was in on the experiment from the start, and like the others who saw the company change into something terrible, she kept her big mouth shut and let the crew stay there to spy. When you could end up dead for speaking up, why not just let business go on as usual. Now, this is mostly theory, but the guy who's always with her... the one in the wheelchair. I'm 90% sure that it's T.S. Griffin, original founder of the Push experiment. He is dying from a debilitating, terminal form of cancer and has professed that by watching Shadrack, he knows that faking disinterest in Watermark and acting un-threatening, he will be left alone and viewed as a non-threat. I know that this is him, but I have no definitive proof.
Jim heads off to Sloman's to see Mary. Mary displays her terrible acting ability one last time and we are pleased that she and Jim do not end up together. Well, you might be disappointed, but I'm not. Watching her fight her way through her lines was pure torture for me and I'm so glad she wasn't elevated to the status of "Jim's girlfriend". Jim gets a little tongue action from her anyway then heads off to Job's to gas up before hitting the road. Job comments on the Shadrack Sculpture in the backseat of Jim's car and they talk about it for a minute.
What they should have cleared up, but didn't: Shadrack had a lot going on upstairs, apparently. He was the comptroller for Push, that much we know, but after his wife and two kids died, he lost it and became something of a vagrant. What happened was this: He spoke out against Watermark buying the Versailles from Sloman, and hten, when Watermark offered him a job working on the experiment (I guess to try and get the vocal man in their hip pocket) he said, "No way." So, Watermark had his wife and kids killed. Simple as that. Shadrack slipped into dementia after the deaths, and Watermark saw him as a non-threat and left him alone.
Jim Prufock is back in Carson City and what's this? He's got his own reserved parking spot at the IRS offices. Inside, he learns that he's been given a promotion (actually, Ira Glassman has been demoted and Jim is given Ira's job and office) and that he's working for a new boss. Mr. Mann is clearly the most jovial and animated tax man I've ever seen and he's just thrilled to promote Jim. Jim is sceptical, but with some demands of his met, he decides to accept the position. He demands Grace be brought back in to work for him and that he get to work on 3 cases a year without interference from his bosses. Mann caves then drags Jim off to a reception.
At the reception is the former Mrs. Prufrock. Oh, Darlene... now we know why you two really split up. You're butt-ugly. Anyway, Darlene is full of promises to start a new life over together and professes that she is clean and sober and ready to try again. Jim isn't really buying into it, but he grudingly agrees that he will see her later at home.
Jim calls Grace. He wants her back, but apparently Grace is taking up marksmanship these days. She lies when Jim asks what that bang in the background is. Why she won't tell him she's at a shooting range is beyond me, and evidently, it's beyond the producers and writers as well, as they never explain it to us four. I guess maybe she's becoming empowered, but whatever the case, it's not very clear and I add this scene to my list of disappointments in this series. She refuses to come back to work for Jim and says that she knows the Push 1040s weren't there when she had looked for them.
Jim heads home and has a heartfelt talk with the dog-faced Darlene. They get it on, as we see in silhouette. In one exciting and satisfying twist, we see the three well-dressed men outside the window. One looks at his watch and oddly enough, it's precisely 9:15 p.m.
What they should have cleared up, but didn't: When the Push experiment was taken over by the bad guys, Watermark used suggestions delivered via the media channels they controlled to alter the behavioral patterns of it's guinea pigs and make the captuer of data easier to accomplish. They got them all to shop at the same time, go to bed at the same time and even have sex at the same time (9:15 p.m.)
Jim ends up having a bad dream after sleeping with his estranged ex-wife. Interestingly enough, I understand this completely. I often have bad dreams, too, after eating bad meat or sleeping with someone who looks more like an alien than a human being. Poor Jim. Anyway, in the dream, he's locked in the trunk of his car. He gets out and goes inside a building where all the residents of Push have gathered. His wife is there, too, along with BRB, Delilah, and Sloman. There's some reference to waffles, rough patches and such. He wakes to find his wife standing like a zombie in the kitchen. She sees him and quickly sets to checking on her... you guessed it... waffles. Weird. I don't know what's going on here, but something surely is.
Jim gets back to the office and works on his report on Push. He is still bothered by the unknown identity of the person who sent him the fax. He decides to invite Ira out to lunch, as if Ira might now what the hell is going on. They small talk for a while, and Ira calls the IRS a "demanding and fickle mistress". I puke. Jim expresses concern about all the unanswered questions he still has. Me too, Jim... me, too. He returns to the office and sees a bunch of boxes. They're full of tax returns filed by the residents of Push. He is suspisious of them and goes to see know-it-all Grace. He finds her at a shooting range, and yet again, another opportunity to explain her new hobby is missed by our writers and producers. Grace confirms that the forms have to be fakes. Jim is convinced that there's some bad people in the IRS who are linked to the bad guys in Push, but still he doesn't know about Watermark.
What they should have cleared up, but didn't: Yes, Jim conveniently stumbles onto the truth. But, still no one tells us who the moles might be, though I suspect Mann. He bent much to quickly to Jim's demands and the strange phone call he recieved filling Jim in on his promotion (the one about "Pork chops" sounding fine) make me suspicious. But, who knows... certainly not us, the four people watching. I mean, why not reward us with answers after we so dilligently hung in there and continued to watch even after everyone else gave up?
Grace agrees to come back and work for Jim so long as she doesn't have to deal with his ex or wear pantyhose. I think I love Grace. She fires a few well aimed shots at her target and I'm sure now. I really do love her. Jim heads home and reaches into his breast coat pocket. It seems he finally found the AMP handkerchief Martha slipped him before he left Push. While looking at it, lost in thought, the POV of the camera changes and we see that the well-dressed men are spying on him with the same surveillance system they use to spy on all the Push residents. Jamison Jones informs us that the initials on the handkerchief stand for Alfred Michael Prufrock, Jim's father and former employee of Watermark.
What they should have cleared up, but didn't: Yes, Al is Griffin's partner, the other original employee of the Push experiment. Al faked his death because he wanted out and didn't want anything bad to happen to his wife and kid (12-year old Jim Prufrock), which would surely have been the case if he hadn't gotten out by faking his death. He took with him his own kill-code bible and never got in touch with Griffin again. Turns out Griffin was the one who sent Jim the fax, hoping that the son's involvement would lure Al out of hiding so this whole Watermark thing could be exposed and stopped. Evidently, Mary, Bodnick and Caleb had orchestrated the robbery of the casino and old Griffin found out and used it as a way to lure Jim to the case. Apparently it worked, because for the first time since he faked his death, Old Prufrock, Senior is starting to make his presence known again.
Then they cut to some horrible shot of Jim - only it's NOT Jim, it's Derek Cecil, the guys who plays Jim on TV. He tries to get us to think it's all real, then tells us to check out this website, www.pushtimes.com. See, they know there's gaping holes in the story but they don't want to actually do any of the work it would take to explain it, so they make me wade through 81 pages of crap related to the Push experiment. I only wanted to get lost in the TV show. I didn't know there was going to be homework, too. I'm furious, too, that they destroyed the illusion of the show by telling me that Jim isn't real, but just a character on TV. Way to go, jerks.
Derek (he's just not Jim to me anymore...) says that there are 6 words that somehow factor into this whole mess. Five, Longitude, Underwear, Southeast, Bodnick, Eliot. Whatever that means. Thanks, bud, the waters weren't muddy enough.
Anyway, even with all these "answers" spelled out in (did I mention?) 81 pages... there are still some big holes. What's up with the Stepford wife? She's obviously working for Watermark, but how and why? And the weird criminal investigator from the IRS, the one at the beginning who doesn't really "look like an IRS agent"??? Something's gotta be up with him. Mr. Mann is a big question mark, too. What's his role? And, Grace's new hobby is a wee-bit lost on me too. Guess I have to watch Monday Night Football - but, no ABC, not because you told me to, but because I always watch. The clue will air during the Toyota halftime show. (Does anyone else think Toyota got screwed with all the "hidden" toyota18.com messages in the finale? Suckers.)
I feel so used. I never agreed to all this extra credit. I just wanted a quirky little show with a square lead guy to develop a crush on, a weird log-lady to contemplate and lots of bizarre camera angles and stuff. Damn you Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Damn you all to hell. (Good thing you're both so darn cute... that'll make forgiving you so much easier.)